New Bilingual Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Tragic Romance
Shakespeare en Español
Romeo y Julieta
Free Performances Tonight and Saturday, July 26
At Little Village Lawndale High School
Chicago—June 25, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), recent recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, produces a staged reading of the newly commissioned Shakespeare en Español Romeo y Julieta, a bilingual adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in the Theatre at Little Village Lawndale High School tonight and Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. Henry Godinez, co-founder of Teatro Vista, director of Chicago’s Latino Theatre Festival and a veteran of nine productions at Chicago Shakespeare, directs a local and national cast of Latino theater artists including Elizabeth Peña, four-time winner of the American Latino Media Arts Award. Karen Zacarías, founding artistic director of Young Playwrights’ Theatre in Washington, D.C. and winner of the 2006 Francesca Primus Award, adapts the 75-minute work. Chicago’s own The Luna Blues Machine, whose music blends Latin influences with modern rock, will create a live musical soundscape for the performance. The reading will be performed with the support of the Joyce Foundation and in partnership with the Little Village Community Development Corporation, tonight and Saturday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the Theatre at Little Village Lawndale High School, located at 3120 S. Kostner Avenue in Chicago. Admission is free.
With Romeo y Julieta, director Henry Godinez re-imagines Shakespeare’s story of two lovers on opposite sides of a divided city within a modern Latino community. “For many in the United States, growing up bilingual is a fact of life,” said Godinez. “It cuts across the generations. Spanish at home, English at work or school, both with friends. Finding how these two headstrong teenagers fall for each other in a world divided not just by two households, but by two languages, is fascinating.”
“Shakespeare’s stories belong to all of us,” said CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, “regardless of language or time. Chicago Shakespeare brings international companies and thousands of Latino students to our theater every year. We’ve seen how new languages can be a bridge to understanding. With Romeo y Julieta, language serves as common ground for Spanish and English speakers alike.”
CST artists and staff have worked with scholars and Spanish-language theater practitioners from across the nation to develop the new adaptation and bring together a top creative team. Henry Godinez, co-founder and past artistic director of Teatro Vista, has created numerous works and opportunities for Latino artists and audiences both in Chicago and on the national stage. He first collaborated with Karen Zacarías in 2005 when he directed the world premiere of her play, Mariela in the Desert, at Goodman Theatre. Zacarías, whose plays include Sins of Sor Juana (2000) and The Book Club Play (2008), has recently premiered works at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Round House Theater and Alliance Theater, and is currently working on a new commission for Arena Stage.
Joining Godinez and Zacarías among an accomplished local and national cast is four-time ALMA Award winner
Elizabeth Peña as Lady Capulet. Her film credits include the voice of “Mirage” in The Incredibles, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, La Bamba, Rush Hour, Lone Star (Independent Spirit Award, NCLR Bravo Award), Tortilla Soup and Transamerica. Her stage experience includes more than 20 Off Broadway shows, including roles at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and La Mama.
The cast of Romeo y Julieta is completed by: Desmin Borges as Mercutio; Carlos Rogelio Diaz as Romeo; Adriana Gaviria as Juliet; Adrian Gonzalez as Paris; Eddie Martinez as Benvolio; Steve Pickering as Friar Laurence; ALMA Award-winner Marco Rodriguez as Lord Capulet; co-founder and co-artistic director of Chicago’s Teatro Luna Tanya Saracho as Nurse; co-founder and artistic director of Chicago’s Teatro Vista Eddie Torres as Tybalt; and Larry Yando as Prince. Belinda Cervantes and Martiza Cervantes, both members of The Luna Blues Machine, join the cast as musicians.
The production team for Romeo y Julieta includes: lighting designer Mac Vaughey; costume coordinator Kristin Demanett; properties master Kate Glodoski; sound designer Ray Nardelli; projection designer Mike Tutaj; and wig and make-up designer Melissa Veal.
Romeo y Julieta is performed tonight and Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Theatre at Little Village Lawndale High School and is recommended for both English and Spanish-speaking audiences. Admission is free. Seating is first come, first served. Reservations are not required, but may be made by calling CST’s reservation line at 312.595.5460. Immediately following each performance, the director and cast will join the audience in a 30-minute discussion. For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com.
Project funding for Romeo y Julieta is generously provided by the Joyce Foundation.
Little Village Community Development Corporation is Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s community outreach partner for Romeo y Julieta.
Univision Chicago is Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s publicity partner for Romeo y Julieta.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.